SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Two people face charges after a four-month-old died in Salt Lake City last year.
According to the probable cause statement, 34-year-old Tara Bowers is charged with second-degree child abuse-homicide and two counts of third-degree cause/permit child or vulnerable adult to be exposed to a controlled substance. Forty-three-year-old Joshua Ekker faces three charges of third-degree cause/permit child or vulnerable adult to be exposed to a controlled substance.
Authorities say they responded to a Salt Lake City apartment in May 2020 for an unresponsive four-month-old.
Officers found the girl unresponsive and not breathing. She was transported to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.
When authorities asked Bowers about what had happened, they say her “statements were inconsistent, and she couldn’t answer questions.”
According to the probable cause statement, investigators found “a meth pipe and a baggie that had what appeared to be methamphetamine.” The Department of Children and Family Services was called in to assist with two other minor children at the time.
The DCFS supervisor told detectives that Bowers had numerous reports regarding all three children, two of whom had been in foster care and returned to Bowers in September 2019. The probable cause statement says one child was born exposed to heroin while another was born exposed to Suoxone, a treatment for people dependent on opioids.
Both of these children underwent hair follicle tests, which both “showed positive for methamphetamine.”
In the probable cause statement, authorities say Bowers was unable to recall what happened between the time Ekker got up to go to work the morning of the infant’s death and finding her unresponsive.
Following an autopsy, investigators determined “the infant had methamphetamine in her system.”
According to the probable cause statement, the bed in which the infant, Bowers, and Ekkers had been sleeping “would be described as dangerous,” having “bedding such as blankets/comforters, pillows, toys, an extension cord, a toothbrush, and other items that are inappropriate for an infant sleep environment.”
No other details are available.